Pop Culture Fix: Cynthia Erivo’s Queer, All Wicked News Is Queer News, PREPARE TO BE SICK OF ME

‘Wicked’ Trailer Premieres at Super Bowl (Here’s a Queer Analysis)

Good news, Cynthia Erivo is queer so all Wicked news — including the drop of the first teaser trailer — is queer news PREPARED TO BE SICK OF ME.

Though, to be honest, even if it didn’t star a queer Broadway superstar (and a pop star who definitely dated Liz Gillies if you ask me and me probably me alone), I would have made the argument that Wicked is queer.  Elphaba and Galinda’s story has all the makings of an enemies-to-lovers tale. But going into that would a) require spoiling the story, which I’m not going to do in case people don’t know the full story and b) take me a thesis-length amount of words and we’re just here for a FIX of Pop Culture, not an ocean of it.

But! That said, there’s another argument to be made for calling Wicked a queer story: Elphaba is queer, in the original and literal definition of the word. Her skin is green, she loves to study, she has powers no one quite understands, she grew up so sheltered she doesn’t know anything about fashion or romance or dancing like her peers. Ever since I first saw the show, Elphaba’s experience always hit a little close to home, as a queer kid who was closeted for the entirety of my schooling (sans grad school.) Of course, since a fair portion of Elphaba’s “oddness” is directly tied to her verdigris, I think the role is always a more complex metaphor when played by a person of color.

Anyway I’ll save the rest of my Wicked thesis for later! Until then, here’s a few more points about the movie as it pertains to this trailer specifically:

First, I will not be linking to any sites that only mention Ariana Grande in the headline. (Looking at you, Rolling Stone.) Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo are co-headlining this movie, and while the story is absolutely about both Elphaba and Galinda, if you have to pick one who it’s MORE about, it’s definitely Elphaba. The titular role! I get that Ariana Grande is more “mainstream” famous, but you can’t include her without mentioning Cynthia Erivo! It’s just rude.

Second, I’m a little confused, because we have been long assuming that the two parts of the movie will be split the same way the play is, Act I and Act II. But there were definitely some moments in the trailer that look like they were from Act II, which implies to me that it’s further along in production than I thought, and so why is there a FULL CALENDAR YEAR between movies?

And finally, why the hell isn’t there more singing in the trailer? There were a lot of jokes when the Mean Girls and Color Purple movie trailers came out that it was possible to not know if they were musicals based on the trailers alone, especially because those are two musicals that also have non-musical movie adaptations. And I know what you’re thinking, “Surely everyone in the world knows that Wicked is a musical,” but that almost makes my point even stronger.

Technically The Wizard of Oz is also a musical, so even people expecting it to be a twisted adaptation of that shouldn’t be TOO shocked to find Wicked is a musical. No one who enjoys the Wizard of Oz properties is going to be like “bleh I hate when people sing in movies!” So why on earth are you not showcasing your two amazing singers in the trailer more? All we get is the telltale riff at the end of Defying Gravity… which is probably the climax of the movie and a weird thing to include!!

All this to say, I have notes about how they’re executing the release and marketing of this movie, BUT I’m so extremely excited.

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in the Wicked Movie trailer

Just two good friends. Two BEST friends.


More Super News:

+ Queer celebs who attended the Super Bowl include (but surely are not limited to) Ice Spice, Lady Gaga, Queen Latifah, and Janelle Monáe

+ Jennifer Beals had a cameo in a Flashdance-themed Jason Mamoa + Scrubs guys T-Mobile commercial

+ Speaking of The L Word Alumni, Sarah Shahi is going to be in a new show

+ Abbott Elementary was renewed for a fourth season

+ You can now watch a trailer for Hannah Gasby’s new comedy special

+ Ghosts is coming back soon and had a Super Bowl commercial about it

+ It’s a scientific fact: Maddow makes Mondays more manageable

+ Scripts for the first few episodes of Season 4 of Only Murders in the Building have been written and are reportedly “incredible”

+ Goosebumps Season 2 will be an entirely new cast; Season 1 included a gay trans boy so hopefully Season 2 will keep the tradition of LGBTQ+ representation

+ Reneé Rapp’s “lack of media training” is a good thing, actually

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 535 articles for us.

5 Comments

  1. I’ve never seen or cared about Wicked, but this teaser came up and I’ve always been so confused/curious about the plot, so I read the synopsis on Wikipedia and promptly went down a rabbit hole listening to tons of the songs on YouTube and now I’m mildly obsessed and so sad I’ve never seen it live. There’s an amazing NPR Tiny Desk with the two current stars of the Broadway version – so tragically no Cynthia, but it was really lovely regardless. If anyone doesn’t want to be spoiled you can still listen to the most popular songs! Obviously I’m *very* late to the party but Defying Gravity is immaculate. I can’t wait to see the movie!

    • You can still see it live on Broadway, tour or the west end, if you’re so inclined. Less wait than for the two parts of the movie, too. Even if this movie defies wildest expectations, it won’t beat the magic of Wicked live.

      Read the book, listen to the sound track, read that Gelphie fanfic. Prepare to lose a couple years at least to your new Wicked obsession.

  2. Ugh, I so want to be excited for this movie, Erivo looks fantastic in it! But I just know I’m going to spend the whole time being driven batty by Grande (why they picked someone who rarely enunciates a word she sings is beyond me!)

  3. Re. Wicked – the original book by Gregory Maguire is much more explicit about not just other queer characters, but a definite suggestion at a more than friends relationship bw Elphaba and Glinda. Just read the scene where they say goodbye:

    ***She put her face against Glinda’s and kissed her. ‘Hold out, if you can,’ she murmured, and kissed her again. ‘Hold out, my sweet.’***

    I’ll leave the rest of the book cannon to those that know better, but I think it’s hinted at but never confirmed through all of the subsequent novels, too. And Maguire has spoken about the deliberate tension. Definitely excited to see if there’s even some remote hinting in the movie…

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